>>> The Hard Way
By staff writer Mike Faerber
January 18, 2006

If you are one to notice finer points, you’ve probably compiled by now a list of all my physical superiorities. But more importantly, you’ve noticed that this week’s title is “Snow, The Hard Way.” Also known as Ice. Also known as what you land on after falling off your skis.

Why were you skiing on ice? You’re supposed to skate on that. But also the people who run the ski resort are supposed to make sure their mountain frequently has snow, not man-made packed stuff. There is more than one way to freeze water, and your face knows the difference on impact. Boy I could use a drink on ice…to numb the pain from the fall.

So yeah, I went skiing for the first time. It was a lot of fun when I wasn’t falling down, and even then, the very surface that hurt me instantly began the first aid process as long as I stayed still. However, it is still an activity with a pretty big learning curve. You have to earn your enjoyment, paying for the adrenaline rush with many falls, bruises, soreness, and dorky looking ski pants from the 70’s. It’s a rough trade, but you’re basically the mountain’s bitch, and he doesn’t care if it’s your first time.

Now quit whining and go down on him.

But here’s where it all went DOWNHILL!

Board to Death


Left: Skiing, able to at least feign happiness.
Right: Snowboarding, no rays of sunshine can melt my frozen tears.

One of the biggest decisions facing first-time skiers is whether they want to ski at all. With a ski pole jabbed at their spine, and a sea of frothy doubt beneath them, they must decide whether they want to walk the plank or walk the two planks. Now the obvious choice would be snowboarding. I mean look at it, it’s so cool and gnarly, and singular, and you want to call your mom and tell her how cool your snowboard looks, but you’re getting no service on the mountain…plus it’s harder, so you heed the advice of dream crushers and rent some skis instead.

And skiing is indeed fun, and by lunch you’re already feeling like you got the hang of it…of course, you’re feeling wrong, because you learn that you’re still on green squares instead of Double Chartruse Lightning Bolts, but you’re still feeling good, and you can’t get the image of those up-turned-nose snowboarders out of your head. So you go ahead and get the board, Righteous. And then you fall. And then you fall again. And then you actually get on the ski-lift. Finally you’re on your feet and picking up speed, and laughing at skiers who have to point their toes together like grannies holding their bladder to stop…until you remember that they at least know how to stop. You spill hard and bruise your hip, and for some reason you feel ready to vomit…probably in disgust at your own weakness, and the 9-year-old running circles or carving cursive YOU SUCK’S around you. It’s time to hit the lodge…and you will. Can’t stop, remember? That looks like it hurts.

Put some ice on it.

Powder Junkie

There’s nothing like hitting the slopes with fresh snow fluffing up on every turn, misting in slow-motion and forming a perfect angel wing silhouette while you wink and point your finger. Ask any boarder, but not me. I only had icy sludge. Once you hit that jump and leave the ground with your board that has some edgy airplane bomber missiles hawk fire mischief erection toon graphic on the bottom, you are instantly hit with a craving…to be on the ground again, because there’s no way you’re going to land that. Your mangled body skids for an eternity, and you laugh gleefully until you remember you’re laughing at yourself. In that moment you feel the raw ecstasy of escaping the icy claws of death…and you want to do it again.

Such is the addiction to skiing, graduating to a new slope, and having that tinge of fear that tells you at any point you could lose control and bite it. Once you successfully run the slope, however, your fear wanes and with it goes your fun. This effectively locks you in a cycle of seeking more dangerous slopes and trying edgier gloaty maneuvers to bring back the rush. Sure go ahead, lift one foot up, close your eyes, don’t use your hands, hit that tree, stick your finger uncomfortably far into your navel. The danger is exciting and fun, until you fall. Basically no matter how good you are at skiing, you will never be satisfied, and it will never be safe. One might say it’s pretty stupid to be so blindly attracted to danger.

But not me, I don’t want all my ladies to get wise.

Snow Angels

Sadly, the mountain can be a lonely place. When you look around you start to notice the couples being all romantic with their rosy cheeks and frostbite marks on their inner thighs. You see them everywhere: in the lodge making out, on the ski-lift making out, on the mountain with their tandem ski love hug making out…and no doubt having a little outercourse. It’s tough being the third ski, so you try to work your game. If you’re good you could slalom your way in between some hottie’s legs. Ooh check out that one over there, you can see her long underwear when she bends over. She’s sparkling in the sunlight reflected by the white mountain. Just looking at her makes you light-headed. But that’s actually just the elevation…you’re now at 10,000 ft 6 inches. She’s giving you a ski-lift, and you’re not sure how you’re going to get off…probably on your face, because you anticipated it so much and got eager.

But once you pick yourself off the ground, you should be good, right? I don’t know. You’re not exactly sporting a wacky ski hat or cool mirrored goggles. You’re sporting old clothes from the last time someone in your family skied. They’re so retro old that they’re actually cool again, except that not cool is the new cool, so you’re just plain a dork…which makes you cool. We could keep going forever, but in the end she’s going to think you’re trying too hard…to stand up. And who can blame ya with that ski pole poking out of your pants.

Yeah the gag’s over, take it out and ski normal.

Mikey: I don’t know whether to ski or snowboard.
Girl: Well snowboarding’s harder, so you might want to try skiing.
Mikey: I like my boards harder.
Girl: No really, you’re going to face-plant.
Mikey: I’ll tell you where I’d like to face-plant.
Girl: Why are you wearing generation old hand-me-downs?
Mikey: Ooh baby you can hand me up AND down…I think they’re my grandpa’s.

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